SA to promote investment potential in Cuba

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pretoria - South Africa is expected to participate in the 27th Havana International Trade Fair in Cuba this week, to promote its exports and investment potential.

Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Thandi Tobias-Pokolo, has led a 40-member government and business delegation to the week-long international trade fair which starts on Monday.

South Africa's attendance at the fair will serve to strengthen the South-South Agenda and further the objectives of the Joint Bi-National Commission Agenda with Cuba by promoting trade and investment between the two countries.

The department has participated in the fair since 2004, with the exception of 2005.

The event will also provide an opportunity for Tobias-Pokolo and her Cuban counterpart to discuss issues on the bilateral agenda, with particular focus on trade and investment.

Cuba is an important trading partner for South African exporters and the department has secured a pavilion for South Africa's participation, where 34 companies will showcase their technological and industrial capabilities.

The targeted sectors include agro-processing, biotechnology, automotives, construction, pharmaceuticals, capital equipment including mining equipment, chemicals, electro-technology including security systems and engineering services.

The companies include emerging, well established and women-owned companies.

In 2008, South Africa exported goods to Cuba to the value of R81 979 457 and Cuba exported goods to the value of R15 741 495 during the corresponding period.

Tobias-Pokolo said that South Africa regarded Cuba as a strategic partner in the Caribbean and the visit provided an opportunity to further strengthen relations between the two countries.

"In addition, it has a growing tourism sector and South Africa is well placed to supply the necessary products to that market," said Tobias-Pokolo.

She said the fair would further provide an opportunity for South African companies to showcase their products and services and network with their counterparts from the rest of the world and Cuba in particular.

In his address during the United Nations General Assembly in September 2009, President Jacob Zuma called for the removal of the US trade embargo on Cuba.